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An overnight dive into a one-time classic: AUDEMARS PIGUET Audemars Piguet ROYAL OAK

Gérald Genta, the giant of Swiss watch design, once said: “I don’t like watches! For me watches are the antithesis of freedom. I’m an artist, a painter, and I hate to follow the limits of time. It angers me.” Even so, the designer, who was an artist in every sense of the word, turned time into a work of art.

One afternoon in 1969, Gérald Genta received a phone call from Georges Golay, director of Audemars Piguet, one of Switzerland’s leading watchmaking brands, saying that he needed a design for a sporty watch, and that he wanted it early the next morning. That night, the muse from the deep visited Gérald Genta, who drew up an octagonal bezel inspired by old diving helmets, while the exposed screws used to secure the helmet to the upper body armour were transformed into a design with embedded hexagonal screws on the bezel,replica audemars piguet watches which Gérald Genta handed over early the next morning. 1972 saw the creation of a 39 mm diameter The Royal Oak was launched in 1972.

With its distinctive bezel, large Grande Tapisserie dial, integrated case and bracelet, and large sporty steel case at a time when precious metal watches were the norm, the Royal Oak was a bold prelude to contemporary classics.

A timeless design and craftsmanship worthy of further refinement, the most iconic self-winding watch in the Royal Oak collection has been given a contemporary twist over time,replica watches with subtle adjustments including a more off-centred date window, wider hour markers, a minute circle printed on the disc ring rather than on the guilloché dial, making everything more legible and the light of that year’s overnight dive more elegant.

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Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph Blue 26331ST.OO.1220ST.01

Just hitting retailers and boutiques now is the updated Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore, the sportier and often bulkier cousin to the Genta-designed classic. This new ref. 26480TI.OO.A027CA.01 is done in a 42mm titanium case with a new dial featuring the “Méga Tapisserie” pattern done in blue and a case that’s almost 2mm thinner than existing 42mm Royal Oak Offshore chronograph models.

It looks like Audemars Piguet is aiming to capture the Royal Oak buyers who can’t quite get their hands on one, as they’ve outfitted this ref. 26480TI.OO.A027CA.01 with the Calibre 2385 that allows for the sub-dials at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock, as opposed to the existing Royal Oak Offshore models that use the Calibre 3126/3840 which has the chronograph sub-dials at 6,9, and 12 o’clock. This also allows for a thinner case size, with this new model coming in at 12.8mm-thick, while existing 42mm Royal Oak Offshore chronograph models are 14.5mm-thick. Water resistance isn’t affected, remaining at 100M.

The new dial is done with blue “Méga Tapisserie” pattern and gray sub-dials, and it looks like the partially skeletonized hour and minute hands are new, as well. The second hand is blue, and that color pattern extends to the base of the crown and chronograph pusher, as well as the blue rubber strap the watch comes on
I think this is a really smart move from Audemars Piguet in making the Royal Oak Offshore a more desirable luxury sport watch. I’ve always had a bias against 6,9,12 chronograph sub-dial layouts, and the thinner case in lightweight titanium is a welcome addition. Also, it looks like this isn’t a limited-edition version but I assume production will be tight and demand high.